"The future of the world's security in the coming decades is being decided in Ukraine," - Metropolitan Epifaniy to G7 ambassadors

"The future of the world's security in the coming decades is being decided in Ukraine," - Metropolitan Epifaniy to G7 ambassadors - фото 1
On 11 June 2024, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine took part in a meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations with the ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) countries, which took place at the Ukrainian Bible Society.

According to the OCU website, the Primate of the OCU was accompanied by the Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Yevstratiy of Bila Tserkva.

Metropolitan Epifaniy addressed the representatives of the "Group of Seven" states. He thanked the countries they represent for their help in defending Ukraine and for their military, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian support.

"The fight against Russian aggression is our common struggle against the attempts of the coalition of dictatorial regimes to change the life of the world in their favour, to return humanity to the times of the dark past when armed forces could violate peace with impunity. The future of the world's security in the coming decades is being decided in Ukraine. Therefore, we ask you to provide all possible assistance to ensure that this war ends as soon as possible with the victory of peace, freedom, and the triumph of international law. The world of freedom, which your countries represent, has no right to fail," said the head of the OCU.

He stressed that since March 2014, the UCCRO has condemned all manifestations of separatism and all attempts by Russia to divide Ukraine, using any factors for this purpose, be it territorial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or religious.

"Our Council unanimously condemns the ideology of the 'Russian world' - a neo-imperial doctrine that has become the basis for justifying Russia's current aggression against our country. We are forced to state that the main Russian religious associations have become an instrument for spreading and strengthening this ideology. Russian associations of Protestants, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists are involved in this. Yet, the leading role in this is undoubtedly played by the Moscow Patriarchate. Its leadership, as well as through the public structure "World Russian People's Council", which is very similar to the former Stalinist communist "International", is trying to provide a theological and religious justification for the aggression against Ukraine.

The head of the Moscow Patriarchate, Gundyaev, and his subordinates, as well as other followers of the Russian World ideology, openly call this aggression a "holy war", denying the very existence of the unique Ukrainian people and our right to our own state. This ideology also defines the so-called "West", i.e. the free democratic world you represent, as an enemy of Russia. In fact, this ideology, in many aspects, mirrors the ideology of Nazism, which justified and fuelled the war that led the world to disaster.

Therefore, protection from the influence of the Russian World ideology, protection from the influence of those Russian institutions that are called religious but have actually become tools of the Russian dictatorship in the hybrid war against Ukraine and the entire free world, is a necessary element of human rights protection, including the right to freedom of conscience. Only an independent, sovereign Ukraine can protect these rights. We can see this both in our own experience and in comparison with the experience of our brothers and sisters in faith in the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia," Metropolitan Epifaniy said in his speech.

He also emphasised that the UCCRO supports the fact that Russia's ability to influence Ukrainian religious organisations should be limited at the legislative level: "It is the duty of our state and the requirement of national security to protect Ukrainian religious organisations from being used by Russia as a tool to spread the ideology of the 'Russian world' and promote aggression."

He urged diplomats to keep in focus, among other violations committed by Russia in the occupied territories, the violation of freedom of conscience, which is de facto non-existent there.

"In fact, all religious activity, except for that of the Moscow Patriarchate and other associations officially approved by the occupation authorities, is prohibited. Abductions, torture, imprisonment and even murder of religious activists and ministers who displease Russia have become a regular practice there. Only the attention of the international community to this problem can at least partially force Russia to reduce the pressure on Ukrainian believers in the occupied regions," Metropolitan Epifaniy called on the ambassadors.